The Newbie’s Guide to Getting Into Esports

Joel Lee 02-05-2016

2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years for competitive gaming. We previously thought 2013 was the year of esports, but then 2014 came and blew all previous records to pieces. Now, the scene is still breaking milestones left and right with no end in sight.


For example, within the past year, ESPN and Yahoo! both launched sections for full-time esports coverage. Mainstream household brands are now recognizing the sheer growth and potential of it all, which lends a lot of legitimacy to the whole idea.

Competitive gaming is getting serious and it’s not just for nerds and geeks anymore 3 Lies About Gamers That People Still Believe The word "gamer" comes with a lot of baggage -- and the truth is, gamer stereotypes are no longer true. Indeed, "gamers" are now the minority! Read More . It’s not just about being lazy and having fun. In fact, esports can teach useful life skills and build confidence 8 Life Skills That Video Games Can Teach You Video games are more than fun! They can teach you life skills that'll help you be more disciplined and successful in life. Read More . It can also help you embrace your competitive side in a healthy way so that you stop being a sore loser.

Whether you intend to participate or just spectate, here’s all you need to know about the swelling phenomenon of esports.

7 eSports Sites to Bookmark Now

The thing about esports is that multiple games are involved and all of these scenes develop at a rapid pace — much faster than traditional sports — so newbies usually find it tough to keep up. That’s why these all-in-one esports news sites are so important.

Just pick two or three of the following sites and check in on them every day. It won’t take much time and you’ll get a lot out of it.




Without a doubt, ESPN sits as the most successful sports networks in television history. Over 80% of American households had the channel in 2015, and the brand is so well-known that even people who have never watched a sports match in their life still know about ESPN.

So it was big news when ESPN broadcasted an esports match on national TV — and even bigger news when ESPN announced in January 2016 that it would roll out an esports section on its website. It’s only online coverage for now, but this was still an enormous stepping stone for the scene.

At the moment, ESPN only covers Dota 2, League of Legends, and Hearthstone. It’s yet unknown whether it plans to expand coverage, but if this experiment turns out well, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect coverage of games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as well.


2. Yahoo! eSports


Just two months after ESPN made its move, Yahoo! followed suit with its own inauguration of an esports section. While Yahoo! isn’t doing so well with some of its projects, the sports section has always been a winner — and it only makes sense to capitalize on esports while it can.

Yahoo! eSports is better designed than ESPN’s site, at least from a usability standpoint. It’s cleaner, more modern, easier to navigate, and all of the important information is immediately accessible. The sidebar, with live match results and spoiler toggle, is especially useful.

As of this writing, Yahoo! eSports covers CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Street Fighter V.


3. GosuGamers


Unlike the above two sites, GosuGamers has been a pillar of the esports community for over a decade. It launched in 2002 as a hobby site for competitive coverage on games like Warcraft III and Starcraft: Brood War. Now it’s one of the most reputable esports news sites around.

The site itself is packed full of information. Expect to see dozens of new posts every day, but in addition to that, you’ll also find a live match ticker, a list of on-air esports streams, and a forum where you can discuss the latest goings-on, events, and developments.

GosuGamers offers the widest coverage: CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft II, and Overwatch. If we could only recommend one site, it would be this one.


4. The Score eSports


The Score eSports is first and foremost an esports news site. Hit the front page and you’ll see nothing but roster changes, match previews, event results, and the like. If you’re looking for in-depth features or navel-gazing pieces, this isn’t the place for it.

But the real claim to fame for The Score eSports is its mobile app that integrates with several esports games and offers live scoring and breaking news through push notifications. It’s a must-have for every esports fan.

The site currently covers seven games: CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft II, and Call of Duty.

5. Slingshot eSports [No Longer Available]


Slingshot eSports is a newcomer to the field of esports, but rest assured because the people who contribute to the site have been around the block more than once — especially Tomi “lurppis” Kovanen (former Counter-Strike player) and Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner (veteran commentator).

The main draw here is that it’s an independent news site that’s not beholden to advertisers, developers, and parent companies. If you want exposés and controversies, you’ll probably find it here. This is unbridled coverage of the esports culture.

Slingshot eSports has categories for CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone, and Super Smash Bros.

6. Daily Dot eSports


For those who don’t know, The Daily Dot is an online publication that aims to be the “newspaper of the Internet”, and as with most modern newspapers that means covering a whole bunch of different topics. Luckily for us, esports is one of them — and the coverage is pretty darn good.

Don’t expect to see nitty-gritty details or in-depth reporting on specific scenes. Rather, in true newspaper fashion, The Daily Dot offers broad coverage of the biggest news bits from every esports scenes.

So even though it’s not the best site for following individual events, it’s perfect for finding out who’s winning the big tournaments, which events are breaking attendance records, and any juicy community developments.

7. eSports Earnings


This last site isn’t a news site like the others mentioned above, but it’s still a crucial site to follow if you care about tournament prize pools and career winnings for players. Indeed, eSports Earnings is the most comprehensive database of money in esports.

The database is quite informative, too. The per-event prize pools and per-player winnings is the main draw, but you can also browse all events and winners by year, by country, by team, and by game. All results are up to date, new entries are made daily, and the history goes back as far as 1998.

How to Watch Esports Events

News sites are great for catching up on and following events, but if you want to get truly involved, you need to watch these events live! If you aren’t sure how to do that, here are the three main sites you need to know about.

1. Twitch


Nowadays there’s a lot to watch on Twitch even if you have absolutely no interest in esports 7 Twitch Streamers to Watch If Esports Aren't Your Thing If you don't like eSports and you've written off Twitch as "not for you," it's time to reconsider. These entertaining Twitch streamers aren't associated with eSports in any way. Read More , but this streaming site was born out of competitive gaming and Twitch as a company has a lot invested in the esports scene.

Most tournaments are streamed here for free so if you aren’t sure where an event is being streamed, there’s a good chance it’ll be on Twitch. You can also browse by games and catch the odd event happening here and there, notably competitive Overwatch which is getting pretty big How Overwatch Competitive Mode Works If you're new to Overwatch, here's an introduction to Competitive Mode and how Overwatch rankings work. Read More .

2. Azubu


Azubu has suffered a lot of growing pains over the years, never really able to differentiate itself from Twitch in a way that mattered. The ultimate goal has always been to be “the esports streaming site” but due to difficulties in reaching critical mass, it’s always been “that other streaming site”.

That being said, if you want to watch all kinds of esports — not just the top-tier majors but also the mid-tier minors — then Azubu is the best place for it. The mobile app is also pretty useful for watching on the go.

3. MLG


MLG, or Major League Gaming, is an esports organization that specializes in major tournaments and offers some of the best competitions today. Normally you can watch these events on other sites, especially Twitch, but MLG has its own live player and chat in case you don’t like Twitch.

The downside is that you can only watch MLG events with the MLG player.

Getting Into eSports Is Easy!

Esports can be very fun to watch if you give it an honest shot and invest yourself into a specific game, event, or team. It doesn’t take much energy on your part to follow these sites and streams, so why not give it a try? It may surprise you.

Just be careful that you don’t end up being addicted to these games Video Game Addiction In Teens - What Is Too Much and How to Curb the Problem Video game addiction is a serious issue. I know this because I am an ex-video game addict. Read More  or developing gaming-related injuries 6 Real-Life Video Game Injuries and How to Avoid Them Here are several real-life injuries you could sustain just by playing video games, and what you can do to avoid them. Read More , which can be a real problem for some. It’s also possible for games to end up feeding depression 5 Ways Technology Might Be Feeding Your Depression Technology can worsen depression. With tech enveloping our lives, we should be more aware of technology's potential impact on us. There are some things you can do to lessen the burden. Read More so beware of that, too.

Does the idea of esports interest you? Which games in particular? Are there any other good esports resources that we missed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: gaming by Syda Productions via Shutterstock

Related topics: Gaming Culture, Multiplayer Games.

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  1. MockingBirdTTV
    October 9, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    eSports I found very interesting I really liked the idea of it but now since Fortnite has gotten so competitive I wanted to take a chance at eSports and get into Competitive fortnite

  2. Nate
    November 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I'm seriously considering applying myself and getting heavily involved in competitive Hearthstone play. I had a long series of thoughts to myself last night about how badly I've wanted to pursue my dreams and have always listened when other people told me my dreams were hopeless and childish because they involved video games. I'm tired of being held down because my passions don't make sense to other people. In addition to Hearthstone, I think I would be interested in potentially getting involved in competitive Super Smash Bros... I'm not entirely sure what else out there is on the up-and-up, but I'm very open to all forms of gaming.

  3. stuart
    October 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

    i would love to get into e gaming but have no idea how to start any help

  4. afrogamer
    May 10, 2016 at 9:57 am

    i am interested in participating in esports but im quite new to competitive gaming. any ideas on how best to go about it? i have friends that are top gamers too but with barely any real esports participation

    • Joel Lee
      May 13, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Hey afrogamer. The advice would be different depending on which game you want to become competitive at, but in general, you should participate in relevant Reddit and forum communities and find open tournaments that you can sign up for and play in.

      It's good that you have top gamer friends because you guys can just team up together instead of having to find and recruit strangers.

  5. Trickette
    May 2, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    You forgot YouTube Gaming! It's much more noob friendly, since you can control the quality of the stream you're watching and has a much more casual community, it seems. Twitch and eSports-oriented streaming sites can be really overwhelming to someone new!

    • Joel Lee
      May 9, 2016 at 2:44 am

      I debated whether to include YouTube Gaming or not. It's really cool on paper, but I've yet to find anything worth watching on it. It seems like most organizations just want to stick with Twitch, which is a shame because YouTube Gaming had a lot of potential when it first launched. Thanks for mentioning it, Trickette!